Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) has successfully deployed two satellites to orbit for real-time, geospatial intelligence company BlackSky (NYSE: BKSY), bringing the total number of satellites deployed by Rocket Lab to 109 in number.
The ‘A Data With Destiny’ mission, arranged for BlackSky through global launch services provider Spaceflight Inc., was Electron’s 23rd lift-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. Following lift-off at 00:02 UTC, December 9, 2021, Electron successfully delivered the two BlackSky Gen-2 Earth-imaging satellites to a circular 430 km. orbit, growing BlackSky’s constellation of real-time, geospatial, monitoring spacecraft to 12 in number.
BlackSky’s commissioning process for these satellites is now underway to bring them into service as quickly as possible, with the last pair of BlackSky satellites deployed by Rocket Lab beginning commercial operation and generating revenue within six days of launch.
The ‘A Data With Destiny’ mission is the latest launch for BlackSky as part of a multi-launch agreement with Spaceflight to deploy numerous BlackSky satellites on Electron. Rocket Lab has now deployed seven satellites to LEO for BlackSky on missions across 2019 and this year. An additional two, BlackSky satellites are scheduled for launch early next year on Electron from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. These successfully deployed satellites, along with those previously launched to space by Rocket Lab and the remaining pair of satellites next in line, represent the largest number of satellites BlackSky has dedicated to a single launch provider to date.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, said, “Congratulations and welcome to space once again, BlackSky. These back-to-back missions are a showcase of the benefits of rapid-launch in action: quick constellation expansion, streamlined access to space, and fast delivery of global insights to BlackSky customers that Rocket Lab is proud to facilitate with dedicated launch on Electron.”
‘A Data With Destiny’ is Rocket Lab’s final launch for 2021, capping off a busy year for the company. With the successful deployment of spacecraft for government and commercial customers, Rocket Lab launches this year supported operations in Earth Observation (EO), weather monitoring, and Internet-of-Things (IoT) and enabled technology demonstrations in maritime surveillance, quantum computing, advanced AI, communications, and deployable sensors.
The successful deployment of another Rocket Lab Photon spacecraft to space earlier this year is also representative of the company’s growth in space systems, including several strategic acquisitions that will bolster future Rocket Lab missions to the Moon, Mars, and Venus and further enable Rocket Lab to streamline access to space for satellites as an end-to-end space company.
The next year for Rocket Lab includes a busy manifest of Electron launches for new and repeat satellite customers, and ongoing development of its next-generation launch vehicle Neutron, tailored for mega-constellation deployment, interplanetary missions, and eventually human spaceflight.